Category: rearing

nanonaturalist: Tank cleaning day for the fla…

nanonaturalist:

Tank cleaning day for the flannel baby! He’s probably busy molting right now (or asleep!). You can see the empty pupa from one of his unicorn prominent roommates in some of these. It’s the dark red-brown thing.

FYI: don’t do this at home. These caterpillars have such extremely painful stings that they recently made it into the news. No touching flannel babies!!!! Only touch adults!!!

Southern Flannel Moth caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis)

July 21, 2018

A cocoon!!!

July 22, 2018

You can tell the stink bug eggs will hatch soo…

You can tell the stink bug eggs will hatch soon when their cute little faces show up.

Rough Stink Bug eggs (on live oak)

July 22, 2018

Tank cleaning day for the flannel baby! He’s p…

Tank cleaning day for the flannel baby! He’s probably busy molting right now (or asleep!). You can see the empty pupa from one of his unicorn prominent roommates in some of these. It’s the dark red-brown thing.

FYI: don’t do this at home. These caterpillars have such extremely painful stings that they recently made it into the news. No touching flannel babies!!!! Only touch adults!!!

Southern Flannel Moth caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis)

July 21, 2018

hi! im fascinated by the thyanta perditor stin…

hi! im fascinated by the thyanta perditor stinkbugs in my garden (common name too long). i cant find any images of them as nymphs, though. so you inspired me – i took some eggs and im going to raise them myself! ive never raised bugs before though, do you have advice? should i just give them pieces of the plants the adults live on or should i try giving them fruits as well (the nymphs eat the same as adults right?) and how do i best give them water? thank you, all help very appreciated! 😃

Very good! I raised Thyanta custator last year, and they were a lot of fun but I got so behind dealing with all my rearing photos I still haven’t uploaded most of them (or made a follow-up post for them on here [link to posts with my stink baby tag]). I made a couple entries for them on iNaturalist [link] and Bugguide [link].

image

To answer your questions:

Feeding the babies: They will basically eat any soft leafy plants (which is why gardeners aren’t fond of them, but I’ve never seen them cause actual damage!). You want to feed them whatever is easiest for you to provide them fresh, continually. Try a bunch of things! I started out giving them a random assortment of plants (some stink babies grow up on grasses, and those were easy!), but the problem with Thyanta is their favorite foods dry out really quickly. If you give them something like lettuce (from your garden or the grocery store!), you can make a clean cut on the stem and wrap the stem with a damp paper towel. It should last a decent amount of time. Something with a more rigid stalk (ragweed or pokeweed leaves? Leafy flowery bushes?), you can place in a small container or jar with water, but make sure there is something that prevents them from following the stalk into their watery grave. I have been having success with filling the container with water, then throwing in paper towels or cotton balls to slow the water evaporation and keep the babies from drowning.

Watering the babies: Insects (to my knowledge) don’t drink water like other animals do! All of their water comes from their food. So just make sure their food is nice and fresh, and they will be fine!

Preventing escapes: They WILL try to escape. Find a way to stop them! I used critter carriers with a piece of paper towel over the opening between the container and the lid. If you raise them in a jar, you can use one of the canning lid rings with paper towel or fabric. They can squeeze through much smaller holes than you think they can, and they can go MUCH FASTER than you think!

Molting: If they stop moving/stop eating, and then you see “dead” ones at the bottom, they may have just molted!

image

Above is a molting baby Thyanta! Bugs (True Bugs, hemiptera) tend to be red after molting. In the image above, you can see the old skin (the exuvia) he is squeezing out of. Those skins are basically an empty shell in the same shape/size as the babies had been. They are fun to collect to compare the size of the babies at each life stage.

GOOD LUCK and let me know if you have any more questions!

July 18, 2018

emptyinthesnow: nanonaturalist: Who wore it b…

emptyinthesnow:

nanonaturalist:

Who wore it better?

July 12, 2018

What the fuck is this is the fuck what

Babies! They grow up into:

Vine Sphinx moth 😍

nanonaturalist: buggyreblogs: nanonaturalist:…

nanonaturalist:

buggyreblogs:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Fetal moths. Vine Sphinx eggs in the microscope today. They had started changing colors so I know I needed a closer look. Good thing I did!

Both were green striped this morning. By afternoon, one had turned yellow (the color of the developing caterpillar!), and the one that was still green had developed a visible heartbeat. The yellow one tested out his chompers!!! These caterpillars are the ones with the tails (aka “hornworms”), and you can see the yellow baby’s little tail curled up by his face.

By evening, the yellow one had hatched. So precious!

July 8, 2018

Right so this chompy baby? Still in the egg? From one week ago?

They grow SO FAST.

July 15, 2018

You’re a good caterpillar parent!!!

Awww thanks. I love my babies

Look how much he grew in ONE DAY!!!

Yesterday morning, I saw the baby was molting (again?! So soon?!). Look at his little face popping off!

This evening? All done! And, CHOCOLATE-flavored! Look how big! Remember, this is the babe who was IN THAT EGG 10 DAYS AGO.

For whatever reason, the three I raised in captivity (who molted in captivity) have turned brown in the final caterpillar stage, compared to the wild ones who were green. I’ve read the brown color is common in captive sphinx moths. Very interesting!

What a mess. Their poops are the size of chickpeas and they can strip a vine bare in no time.

One of the older sausages. I have to drag out the ladder to feed them now, they ate all the vine within my reach!

July 18, 2018

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: FYI, pupae an…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

FYI, pupae and chrysalids are not “hibernating.” They don’t eat or poop, but they can still be a pain in the ass. For example, these Gulf Fritillary babes (FINALLY THEY PUPATED) worked very hard to pick very inconvenient spots to pupate. So I had to rehang them. And the ENTIRE TIME they were doing this.

-_-

Gulf Fritillary chrysalids
July 14 / posted July 15

Look who’s here!

I had to be on a conference call for work this morning, and did it from home. Before the call, everybody was still grumpily tucked away. After the call: my beautiful children are here 😭

Their wings are still floppy and soft, and they are still zipping up their proboscii (is that the plural of proboscis?)(did you know, their mouthparts start out as two halves, and after they emerge from the chrysalis, they straighten and curl them up to get each half to “zip” into one tube? It looks like they’re flexing!).

I need to head into work, so I’ll probably set them hidden in a plant in the yard somewhere safe from all the birds who want to eat them, so they can fly away safely when their wings are nice and dry.

July 17, 2018

nanonaturalist: FYI, pupae and chrysalids are …

nanonaturalist:

FYI, pupae and chrysalids are not “hibernating.” They don’t eat or poop, but they can still be a pain in the ass. For example, these Gulf Fritillary babes (FINALLY THEY PUPATED) worked very hard to pick very inconvenient spots to pupate. So I had to rehang them. And the ENTIRE TIME they were doing this.

-_-

Gulf Fritillary chrysalids
July 14 / posted July 15

Look who’s here!

I had to be on a conference call for work this morning, and did it from home. Before the call, everybody was still grumpily tucked away. After the call: my beautiful children are here 😭

Their wings are still floppy and soft, and they are still zipping up their proboscii (is that the plural of proboscis?)(did you know, their mouthparts start out as two halves, and after they emerge from the chrysalis, they straighten and curl them up to get each half to “zip” into one tube? It looks like they’re flexing!).

I need to head into work, so I’ll probably set them hidden in a plant in the yard somewhere safe from all the birds who want to eat them, so they can fly away safely when their wings are nice and dry.

July 17, 2018

buggyreblogs: nanonaturalist: nanonaturalis…

buggyreblogs:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Fetal moths. Vine Sphinx eggs in the microscope today. They had started changing colors so I know I needed a closer look. Good thing I did!

Both were green striped this morning. By afternoon, one had turned yellow (the color of the developing caterpillar!), and the one that was still green had developed a visible heartbeat. The yellow one tested out his chompers!!! These caterpillars are the ones with the tails (aka “hornworms”), and you can see the yellow baby’s little tail curled up by his face.

By evening, the yellow one had hatched. So precious!

July 8, 2018

Right so this chompy baby? Still in the egg? From one week ago?

They grow SO FAST.

July 15, 2018

You’re a good caterpillar parent!!!

Awww thanks. I love my babies

Look how much he grew in ONE DAY!!!

Hello! I discovered what I am fairly certain i…

Hello! I discovered what I am fairly certain is a pre-pupal Citheronia regalis caterpillar in my yard and I would like to try and raise the squishy baby into adulthood! I havent had a lot of luck in finding any care recommendations for the little blue noodle. Do you have any advice? Thank you!!

Oh congratulations! I haven’t met one of those yet, but I hope to some day! If your baby is, in fact, prepupal, then it is wandering around trying to find the perfect spot to pupate and is no longer eating and doing normal caterpillar stuff.

Sometimes you do find regular caterpillars wandering around that aren’t prepupal, and those need to eat. Silk moths are popular enough you can find information on their hosts fairly easily. There is a great lepidoptera/host plant database online: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/hostplants. Give the baby some fresh twigs of the host plant (put the stem in water and seal the opening by filling the container with cotton balls or cover the top of the water container with press-n-seal and cut a small hole for the plant—lots of caterpillars are kinda dumb and will drown themselves -_-)

The way you can tell prepupal and regular caterpillars apart: prepupal caterpillars start to fade in color and look sick. They restlessly wander around. They aren’t interested in any host plants you present to it. The silk moths will make cocoons, usually with leaves or leaf-litter, but sometimes they’ll just make “naked” cocoons. When they start making a cocoon, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. They will be chewing on things, rubbing their face on stuff, sewing leaves together, etc. so give it some kind of substrate. Paper towels work fine for most species!

When they pupate there is always a risk you will hatch parasitic flies/wasps instead of a moth, so prepare yourself. But if you have a moth, they can stay in their pupae for a very long time! If your baby is still in the cocoon when winter rolls around, you want to simulate winter by putting it in the fridge, or leaving it in a protected area outside. When the weather starts to warm up in spring, you can bring the baby back in and give it lots of space to emerge and stretch its wings. I use pop-up laundry hampers that zip completely closed.

I hope this helps and good luck!

July 15, 2018